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The Last Victorians: A Daring Reassessment of Four  Twentieth Century Eccentrics

The Last Victorians: A Daring Reassessment of Four Twentieth Century Eccentrics (Hardback)

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Synopsis

We of this age behold with amazement the sweep and range of the great Victorians. - Morning Post, May 1921 Ever since the publication of Lytton Strachey's Eminent Victorians in 1918 it has been fashionable to ridicule the great figures of the nineteenth century. From the long-reigning monarch herself to the celebrated writers, philanthropists and politicians of the day, the Victorians have been dismissed as hypocrites and frauds - or worse. Yet not everyone in the twentieth century agreed with Strachey and his followers. To a handful of eccentrics born during Victoria's reign, the nineteenth century remained the greatest era in human history: a time of high culture for the wealthy, 'improvement' for the poor, and enlightened imperial rule for the 400 million inhabitants of the British Empire. They were, to friend and foe alike, 'the last Victorians' - relics of a bygone civilisation. In this daring group biography, W. Sydney Robinson explores the extraordinary lives of four of these Victorian survivors: the 'Puritan Home Secretary', William Joynson-Hicks (1865 - 1932); the 'Gloomy Dean' of St Paul's Cathedral, W. R.

Inge (1860 - 1954); the belligerent founder of the BBC, John Reith (1889 - 1971), and the ultra-patriotic popular historian and journalist Arthur Bryant (1899 - 1985). While revealing their manifold foibles and eccentricities, Robinson argues that these figures were truly great - even in error.

W. Sydney Robinson is an award-winning author, broadcaster and journalist. After studying History at the University of Manchester from 2004 to 2007, he proceeded to Cambridge, where he is currently a Research Associate of Wolfson College. His first book, Muckraker: The Scandalous Life and Times of W. T. Stead, Britain's First Investigative Journalist (Robson Press, 2012) was awarded the Political Biography of the Year award at the Total Politics and Paddy Power Awards 2013. He writes occasionally in the Sunday Times, the Spectator and the TLS. He has recently been appointed a teacher at Rugby School.

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